September 18, 2014
In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our healthcare system toward the right care for all patients.
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Alexandra Sifferlin writes for Time about a new paper by Lown Institute President Vikas Saini, MD, and others, which argues that treating most patients with slightly elevated blood pressure is likely to do more harm than good. The paper is part of a series in The BMJ on overdiagnosis. In it, the authors argue that treatment recommendations for mild hypertension have been based on evidence of benefits for patients with more severe hypertension; the benefits of treating mild hypertension remain speculative, and the evidence is insufficient to warrant widespread drug treatment of that very common condition.
In her op-ed in the Providence Journal, Lown Institute Senior Vice President Shannon Brownlee, cautions against emerging retail clinics, like MinuteClinic at CVS, because they view patients solely as customers who will advance their bottom line. Unlike primary care physicians, retail clinics have no interest in getting to know the patient, his or her individual lives, needs and circumstances. And there’s another bad outcome with retail clinics: They undermine the financial stability of primary care physicians, as they siphon off easy cases and easy revenue.
A Boston Globe piece by Deborah Kotz last week profiles Leana Wen, MD, who advocates for physicians to be more transparent with their patients. She suggests that patients ought to know if their doctors are paid fee-for-service, their personal views on topics like abortion, and whether they have financial interests linked to treatments, all of which, she believes, factor into how they care for patients. Wen, who is a member of the Lown Institute’s advisory council, is joined by RightCare Alliance members Tanner Caverly, MD, Zack Berger, MD, Josh Kosowsky, MD, and Aaron Stupple, MD in her call for transparency. Physicians’ profiles vary, from focusing on philosophies relating to curbing overuse of healthcare resources, end of life issues, even religious beliefs and political affiliations. Wen cites her mother’s journey through cancer treatment, and discovering that the treating oncologist was also a spokesperson for the pharmaceutical company that made the chemotherapy regimen prescribed.
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